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It is easy to understand why SUVs gained considerable popularity in the last twenty years. They have spacious cabin, high seating position, and stable behavior on slippery roads. However, to please the customers, the automakers have made major changes in the design of the models. Most of them have abandoned dependent suspension and permanent all-wheel drive, and used a monocoque. But the fans of the off-road look for the classic “serious” SUVs, which are produced in Jeep, Land Rover, and Nissan. Toyota brand also moved ahead, and in 2009 they introduced three of such models: “brothers” Land Cruiser 150 and Lexus GX460, as well as the new 4Runner, which will be described in Toyota 4Runner Review.
Toyota 4Runner has been known since 1984 and for now it already has five generations. From a technical point of view it is very close to the Land Cruiser 150, as it uses the same platform, but the car looks manlier. It does not have such clear-cut classical features as FJ Cruiser, but still the off-road style prevails in its design. The soft lines of predecessor have disappeared - the car attracts attention with angular style and broad “shoulders” of the rear wings. Under a threatening look of elongated headlights there is a massive bumper, and on the roof there is a big size spoiler.
The appearance of a new car may be different depending on its configuration. So, luxurious 4Runner Limited looks more subdued - with chrome moldings and grille, body-colored bumpers and 20-inch wheels. At the same time, the Trail version got all terrain attributes. It is equipped with a powerful underbody protection, black protective overlays on bumpers and wheel arches, and 17-inch wheels with high profile tires with a deep tread. Also Trail can be distinguished by the air intake on the hood, tinted headlamps, black door handles and special rails for the roof rack. And ground clearance in this version is increased by 20 mm to 244 mm.
Compared to its predecessor 4Runner has grown in size; the wheelbase remains unchanged (2790 mm), but the length has increased by 18 mm (4823 mm). The width has increased by 15 mm (1925 mm) and a height - 20 mm (1816 mm). A drag coefficient was improved to 0.365.
Due to the lower floor, the cabin is more spacious than before. In addition, the driver’s position is somewhat higher. The style of interior design undergone big changes - it is performed on the inverse image of Toyota FJ Cruiser. Optitron instrument dials are now placed in separate wells and highlighted in red. Grey plastic is diluted with silver accents on the steering wheel and center console. In the version Trail the fabric on the seats is waterproof. The switches of electronic systems that help on the road are placed in the console on the ceiling.
The front seats in the base version are equipped with an electric drive. Between them there is a wide armrest with a spacious box to hide 12-volt outlet and the USB-port. Since the seatbacks are thinner, the second row got more space in the knees area. You can individually fold the central section of the sofa and turn it into the armrest. And as an option, there is a third row of seats, which can fit not only children but also adults of average height, because the legroom is increased by 130 mm. In the five-seat configuration the trunk volume is huge - 1311 l. If the second-row seats are folded, it increases to 2514 liters.
Not to open the heavy fifth door, you can simply touch the button to lower the rear window and throw the luggage through the window.
The base version SR5 is equipped with power windows, on-board computer, audio system with CD-player and eight speakers, electric tailgate, parking sensors and keyless access system. All 4Runner got 8 airbags (front, side, inflatable “curtains” and a pillow for your knees when sitting in the front), ABS anti-lock brakes, the VSC stabilization system and traction TRAC system. Limited option implies a two-zone climate control, CD-changer, and leather interior. Among the options there are heated seats, a sunroof, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, and navigation system with disaster alarm technology.
The basic version is equipped with a 2.7-liter petrol four-cylinder unit capacity of 157 hp. However, this engine is not always enough for a two-ton car, especially on the off-roads. Therefore, you should pay attention to the 4.0-liter V6 with variable valve timing regulation system VVT-i. Its horsepower reaches the number of 270, and this “six” is pretty high-torque, with its peak at 377 Nm. This is felt both on the roads and when overtaking on the highway. You can also tow a trailer weighing 2268 kg. Acceleration to 100 km / h takes 7.8 seconds. At the same time the fuel consumption is not much more than in the 2.7-liter version - 13.8 l / 100 km in the urban cycle and 10.7 l / 100 km - in the country.
All 4Runners are equipped with 5-speed automatic transmission. Basic version is rear wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is mandatory in Trail and Limited versions. In the latter case, it is permanent four-wheel, but in Trail it can be turned on, and has locking rear differential.
Dynamics and Drive
The car shows excellent opportunities on the roads, especially if you choose a reduced number of transmissions. 4Runner easily climbs the steep hills and has the Downhill Assist Control technology. With Multiterrain Select the system can be set for the driving on sand, rocks, mud or snow. In particularly difficult cases, you can set up Crawl Control technology: it will limit the speed at around of 1.5 to 8 km / h and will allow slowly “crawling” through the mud. Active Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (standard in the 4Runner Trail) helps when driving on asphalt: in turns the stabilizers are stiffer and somewhat reduce the body roll.
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